Finding the right school for your autistic child may present a huge challenge for a variety of reasons.
Both autism and Asperger’s are types of pervasive developmental disorder. People with these disorders have difficulties with language development and use, socialization, stereotypical behaviors and interests and oftentimes they will also have unique learning difficulties that schools are obligated to provide support for. It is important for parents to know what supports is available to their children if they want them to be successful.
Programs For Children With Autism
Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is available beginning at the age of three for autistic children. Schools must try to locate children with disabilities within their district and to have these services in place on or before they turn 3-years-old. All parents need to do is notify the special education department of their local school district that they have a child with autism. This child will be eligible for an ECI classroom. Herein they will work on a wide range of skills – everything from pre-academic to behavioral and self-care skills.
According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, schools must provide the accommodation that students need in order to overcome any of their disabilities that interfere with their learning. In order to partake of this you should ask for the 504 coordinator or for the office of disabilities within your school district. Before you do so though, make sure that you have documentation of your child’s disability. Once you contact them they will be able to tell you which accommodations are necessary for your student and then make sure that your child’s teachers follow these accommodations.
Your school district’s special education department is responsible for providing services to students who qualify as having a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This is different from the 504 program that provides accommodations to students in that the special education program is able to provide much more extensive services. For instance, they can provide modified instructional content, as well as extended programming, speech therapy and occupational therapy to deal with teaching children with autism.
School Services for Children With Special Needs
All school students are placed in the general education classroom as much as possible. For many students that placement is for the entire day. While there many students will need extra support or accommodations. For instance, they may need calculators, extra time, written instructions or special seating. Some of the accommodations that are specific to students who have autism include visual schedules, structured routines, peer models and reduced sensory stimuli.
Students who qualify for special education may also qualify for related services that are provided by the special education department. These services may include speech therapy to help them with articulation, occupational therapy to help with fine motor skills, physical therapy and counseling. These students also have access to special education classrooms wherein modified instructional content is used whenever the general education setting is inappropriate for them. Training in basic life skills is also provided, which is especially important for autistic children who often have difficulty with daily living skills.
Supports to help transition students with disabilities from public school to independent living and employment are also mandated for students with disabilities. Schools are required to provide information to all students in general education classes, as well as 504 students. Eventually a more formal plan for this transition must be put into action. This will include a plan for job training and also help to connect them to relevant outside agencies.
Supports Outside of School for Autistic Children
Schools are required to also consider any parental supports that may be necessary. These are considered to be a related service for children who are in special education. This may include helping connect parents to relevant workshops or parent support groups. It may also include helping parents set up structured schedules, visual schedules or other types of support that is needed within the home. Still, it may be difficult to find the right school for autism in your local area.
In-home training for students with autism is also another related service that is provided through special education. This includes training within both the home and the community. It concentrates mainly upon goals that support educational progress in order to teach children these skills in more than one setting since children with autism tend to have difficulty generalizing skills that are learned in one setting and using them in other settings too.
Getting Help At School For Autistic Children
Autistic children will often require the use of some very unique educational supports. Fortunately, schools have programs and support services that can help these children with these needs. Knowing that these services are available helps parents understand their options and get the best education possible for their autistic child.
Boarding schools for autistic children are a choice for parents, but many boarding schools are not equipped with the staff and knowledge to deal with autistic children.
Finding the best schools for autistic children in Massachusetts, Portland, Oregon, Houston, Texas, New York, Florida, New Jersey and California will be easier than other states. There are many private schools for autism and autistic children, if you have the money to send them. Tuition is high for many autistic schools.
The Faison school for children with autism in Florida, Anderson school for autistic children, the Eden school for autism, the Cleveland clinic school for autism, Higashi school for autism, and the Mariposa school for autism are among some of the most popular schools that parents send their autistic children too.